Tyler Zacharia, MBA '16
Graziadio Full-Time MBA Feature
Why did you choose Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School?
"The values orientation of Pepperdine is ultimately what drove me to differentiate it from other schools. Also, my wife went to undergrad and law school at Pepperdine, so I got a lot of time to learn about how special of a place it is."
When you say Pepperdine has a values orientation, how did that show up in your academic experience?
"There is an emphasis on family and things that are more important than just making money and becoming a ruthless business person. That’s evidenced in the teachers and students — Pepperdine Graziadio is far more collaborative than competitive. The professors invite students over to football games at their houses and it becomes a very personal experience."
What was your professional background before business school?
"I went to Georgetown for my undergraduate degree and, while there, studied abroad in Beijing, China. After graduation, I traveled back to China and met a guy who was starting a private equity fund and needed someone who spoke Chinese. I knew nothing about finance, but he hired me and I learned on the job. The company started out with four people and quickly grew to forty employees in six different countries. What I learned is that when you're doing deals in China, or really anywhere, it's not about the facts and figures as much as your people skills. That excites me way more than sitting down in front of a spreadsheet."
Why did you want to go to business school?
"I came from an international studies and military security background. Everything I knew about finance, I learned on the job. What I was looking for out of business school was to formally study business. I wanted to know what someone with an MBA knows. I also wanted to be able to add context to my experiences. Now that I've studied in a classroom, I can say, 'we are doing this right, we are doing that wrong.' All of the benefit for me has been in the classroom."